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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Louisiana City Builds Municipal Fiber Network, 10-100 Times Faster Than Private Providers

Once again, who says government can't do anything right? The city of Lafayette, Louisiana, has built a citywide fiber network: $28.95 a month gets you a 10 megabit per second connection—that's eleven bucks cheaper and about ten times faster than my Sioux Valley Wireless connection. Within the city, residents can communicate at 100 megabits per second, basically making the whole city an Intranet.

I have more details on my DSU blog; I just wanted to note here that, once again, we see proof that government, operating on a non-profit basis, can actually do some things better than the private market. And when it comes to services like Internet and health care, which are fundamental to solid, growing economies, it makes sense that government act as at least one of the providers, to make sure everyone can get good access.


  1. Maybe we can set up an arrangement like that in Lead, so that we can make our town more appealing to those who are thinking about building a new science institute here.

  2. That would be a great idea for Lead, especially with that influx of scientists who would really need ubiquitous Internet access. But I'll go yo one better, Stan: how about turning the entire state into a wireless hotspot?

  3. Good idea, Cory. There would be some problems in the Black Hills, of course, because of the terrain. But the prairie in most of the state is ideal for such a scheme -- with all the servers working from stand-alone, individually dedicated wind/solar hybrid power plants.

    When I lived on the Big Island of Hawai'i, the amateur radio club had a repeater on the top of Mauna Kea (13,000+ ft) that was powered by solar panels and that continued to function even when one of the rainbands in a hurricane knocked out the power to the entire island. That event outlined a key benefit to wireless communications powered by stand-alone independent energy sources: It works when all else fails!

    I would of course favor private development of such a system as opposed to a system funded by taxpayer dollars directly -- but that's just a detail (in the territory where the devil resides, I know) ...

  4. Agreed on private first, but as with Lafayette, if Verizon and other private vendors can't or won't offer an important service for economic and cultural development, then government has the duty to step in and act in the interest of its citizens.

    Wireless would be tricky in the Hills... maybe South Dakota could launch its own Internet satellite into geostationary orbit right over Mount Rushmore? It could beam all you Hills folks Internet 24-7 and watch for unauthorized Rushmore climbers!


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